Tamanawas Falls

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I wake up late in the morning  and drink tea to help wipe away the drowsiness and goo over my eyelids. Once I drain my cup and gaze at the bits of tea leaves stuck to the bottom of the mug I pull wool socks over my feet and head out the door. 

 

Leaves crunch under my boots as I slog out to the car and my mind wanders along the drive until I reach the trailhead: Tamanawas Falls. 

 

The first thing that catches my eye are all the mushrooms ranging from purple ones the size of my palm to tiny little orange ones that I almost mistake for pine needles. Some of them lie partially covered by dirt, and if I peel up some of the soil, it reveals a whole forest of mushrooms of the same species. I also notice how the same variety of mushrooms lie almost a mile apart. 

 

See, most of the mushroom actually grows underground and this is called mycelium. The largest organism on Earth grows in Oregon and can be found in Malheur National Forest. The organism is the Armillaria ostoyae, nicknamed Humongous Fungus, and it stretches almost  four square miles. 

 

I think about the Armillaria ostoyae and how the fruit that we see above ground is just the tip of the iceberg to everything underneath. 

 

After almost tripping due to looking off to the side for mushrooms, I bring my gaze up and continue on with my hike. 

 

As I approach the falls, mist starts to rise up in front of me and I hear the groaning of the waterfall. Then, from nowhere the trail opens up to the falls. The sun shines from behind to illuminate clouds of mist in the sky. I creep closer and see ice covering the rocks next to the falls and icicles hanging from branches. 

 

I stay until the mist begins to soak slightly through my jacket. I want to stay longer, feeling like I have only experienced the tip of the iceberg. 

 

Tamanawas Falls:

Location: Mt. Hood National Forest 

Distance: 3.7 miles

Type: out and back

Difficulty: intermediate 

Fees: Recreation Pass ($5) or Annual Pass ($30)

Season: all year